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Work Schedules, Job Characteristics, Parenting Practices and Children's Outcomes



The goal of this research was to find evidence for serious negative effects of employment conditions on different measures of child outcomes taking into account the family background characteristics and family income. In particular, we wanted to know whether the mother's job characteristics (working full-time or part-time, being in a job with unusual schedules, working in a low skill job and job loss) could tax a child's assessed outcomes in an important way. It is asked whether job characteristics have effects on young children's measurable outcomes (scores on developmental-assessment instruments) and on parenting practices. The analysis uses data from cycle 1 of the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) to examine these relationships. Independently, we asked if these working conditions influence parenting practices, disregarding the potential role of parenting style on children'outcomes. In a few cases, we did find negative effects, but they could not be deemed serious given their size. The most important dimension seemed to be time, as children with full-time working mothers, whatever their schedule or occupation, regularly had lower scores on behavioural outcomes than part-time working mothers and non working mothers. For the others outcomes working conditions do not seem to be matter much. The results also confirm conclusions on income effects recently provided in American studies. The effects are stronger for the poor then they subside for the higher classes of income providing evidence for the importance of achieving a certain minimum standard of living for school readiness and in order to perform reasonably well in school. The estimated income effects imply that non-monetary factors could play a bigger role than income in affecting child development. Cette étude examine les effets du contexte familial et des conditions d'emploi des parents sur différents indicateurs mesurant le développement des enfants ainsi que sur les techniques parentales. L'analyse repose sur les données du cycle 1 de l'Enquête longitudinale nationale sur les enfants et les jeunes. L'objectif poursuivi fut de vérifier la présence d'effets négatifs sur les enfants associés aux conditions d'emploi en tenant compte tant des caractéristiques familiales et du revenu familial. Les indicateurs de développement retenus mesurent le développement cognitif des enfants (des 4-5 ans), différents comportements positifs et négatifs (pour les 4-11 ans) ainsi que le rendement à l'école (pour les enfants en première année et plus). Les conditions d'emploi des mères examinés sont le travail à temps plein et à temps partiel, les différents types d'horaire de travail, les niveaux de qualification des emplois occupés ainsi que la perte d'un emploi. De façon indépendante, les effets des conditions d'emploi sur les techniques parentales sont aussi analysés. Quelques conditions d'emploi ont des effets négatifs, mais leur ampleur est faible. La dimension la plus importante est le temps dans la mesure où les enfants dont les mères travaillent à temps plein selon des horaires a-typique, peut importe l'occupation, ont des scores de comportements un peu plus bas que ceux avec des mères travaillant à temps partiel ou ne travaillant pas. Alors que pour les autres indicateurs les conditions de travail ne semblent pas avoir, en général, d'importance. Les résultats quant aux effets de niveau de revenu familial vont dans le sens de ceux obtenus dans les études américaines récentes. Ces effets sont importants pour les familles les plus pauvres puis décroissent pour les classes de revenu plus élevées. Ceci soutient l'idée de la nécessité pour les familles d'atteindre un certain seuil de revenu afin que soient réunis les conditions favorables au développement des enfants et de leur réussite à l'école. Les effets de revenus impliquent que les facteurs non monétaires jouent un plus grand rôle que le revenu dans le développement des enfants.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 1998. "Work Schedules, Job Characteristics, Parenting Practices and Children's Outcomes," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 77, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:77

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. Anne Hill & June O'Neill, 1994. "Family Endowments and the Achievement of Young Children with Special Reference to the Underclass," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1064-1100.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
    3. David M. Blau & Alison P. Hagy, 1998. "The Demand for Quality in Child Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 104-146, February.
    4. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1995. "Race, Children's Cognitive Achievement and The Bell Curve," NBER Working Papers 5240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
    6. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-481, August.
    7. Sanders Korenman & Christopher Winship, 1995. "A Reanalysis of The Bell Curve," NBER Working Papers 5230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 1998. "Family Background, Family Income, Maternal Work and Child Development," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 78, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
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    1. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 1998. "Family Background, Family Income, Maternal Work and Child Development," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 78, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.

    More about this item


    Mother's working hours; attributes of occupation; job loss; family income; child outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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